Like anyone else in the business world, you’ve probably heard about social customer relationship management (CRM). Yes, “social CRM” is a popular buzzword right now, but it’s also an important concept that businesses need to understand so they can better serve their customers.
Today’s customer is what many refer to as a “social customer.” Social customers use Twitter, Facebook,and other social networks to create and get access to consumer information. Using these tools they can and do, learn about new products and companies, interact with brands, and more. The important thing toremember is that the social customer expects you to be there to listen and engage with them. They wantto be able to talk and interact with you on Facebook and Twitter and receive answers in a timely manner. Most importantly though, they want you to listen to their needs and address their concerns.
The social customer also hates spam. This means you have to avoid treating Facebook and Twitter asan advertising medium. Instead, you need to use social networks to build relationships and to improvecustomer satisfaction.
So, that’s where social CRM comes into play. To put it in the simplest terms, social CRM is the systemand process that allows you to better interact with your customers through social media. This could meanusing social networks as a customer service tool to get leads, or learn more about your target audiencethrough customer conversations on various social networks.
The key to effective social CRM is to listen to and analyze what your customers are saying, integrate thisinformation into your customer relationship management strategy, and act upon these conversations tobetter serve your customers.
When performed properly, social CRM can help you improve your:
- Public relations
- Customer service and support
- Sales process
- Lead conversions
Social CRM is a strategy that must be supported by the right tools. You need a system in place fortracking customer interactions on social media. This means you need to capture contact information fromyour customers and prospects, and keep notes of important conversations and information so that youcan use that information to refine your processes and better serve the customer’s needs.
Of course, social CRM has different meanings for different businesses. You need to set clear objectivesfor your social networking efforts up front. What information do you want to track? What do you want toaccomplish? How will you measure your results? These are all important questions that you need to ask before you begin to implement a social CRM system.
Don’t rush into social CRM. If you don’t manage it properly, you could ultimately do damage to your brandand worsen your customer relationships. Having clearly defined goals, and implementing a system that’sproperly designed, will help you on your way to successful social customer relations.
Vern Marker frequently writes for a CRM blog. Some of his favorite topics include social media andbusiness technologies. If he isn’t doing business, he’s usually on the road traveling to different destinations.